On September 14, 2016, President Obama issued an Executive Order terminating the U.S. sanctions program targeting Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and announced his intention to lift U.S. sanctions on Myanmar (Burma).

Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast)

On September 14, 2016, President Obama issued an Executive Order terminating the national emergency with respect to Côte d'Ivoire, thus ending the U.S. sanctions program targeting that country. At the same time, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") removed nine individuals from the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons ("SDN List") that previously were designated under the Côte d'Ivoire-related sanctions program.

At present, only one individual in Côte d'Ivoire appears to remain on the SDN List. Nonetheless, U.S. companies should continue to screen parties to transactions or other dealings with or involving that country to ensure that no such parties are designated on, or are 50 percent or more owned by parties designated on, the SDN List or OFAC's other prohibited parties lists.

Myanmar (Burma)

On the same day, President Obama also announced his intention to lift U.S. sanctions against Burma. Importantly, however, the President has not yet taken the necessary formal steps to do so. Current U.S. sanctions against Burma have been enacted pursuant to a combination of regulatory and legislative authorities, including not only the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, 50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq. but also the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act of 2008, P.L. 110-286, known as the JADE Act. Consequently, before the Burmese sanctions program might be fully lifted, the President will be required to issue an executive order terminating the national emergency with respect to Burma and submit certain statutorily required certifications to Congress.

For the present, U.S. companies must continue to ensure that they comply with all U.S. sanctions, including the reporting requirements with respect to new investment, that apply to Burma. Further, there are more than 30 individuals and entities located in Burma who have been listed under other sanctions programs, so even after the Burma sanctions are lifted, U.S. companies should continue to ensure their transactions and other dealings in Burma do not involve any persons designated on, or 50 percent or more owned by parties designated on, the SDN List or OFAC's other prohibited parties lists.